Work In Progress: Raine, Update 6

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 6

During the past week I’ve brought this portrait much closer to completion. Much of the face is finished, save for small adjustments. I also finished most of the hair, again, save for adjustments. Some of the blouse has been blocked in roughly and color has been added to the arm.

The lights of the hair are predominantly CO 105 ivory and CO 692 golden ochre light. To get some of the darker shades I worked in CO 690 golden ochre, PP 180 raw umber and PP 182 brown ochre. CO 610 raw umber was worked into the darker shadows.

The hair colors were basically stroked in with a sharp point. This gives the feel of individual hair, as can be seen in the detail photo of the pigtail. It takes more time to do it this way, as I had to rotate through colors to build up layers to cover the paper. However, it gives a more real appearance in the end. Care has to be taken to get the curves of the hair masses smooth. Sometimes I would lay the pencil point down and draw out a long stroke. Other times I would stroke in shorter lines. I went back and forth with the colors, adding in darker ones, then putting in lighter colors. In the end I carefully added in errant hairs in mostly light colors. These stray hairs blown away from the masses, and sometimes going in different directions, added to the realism. I did have check often my placement and make sure I didn’t overdo it.

Working with CO 692 golden ochre light, PP 189 cinnamon, PP 132 light flesh, PP 283 burnt sienna and PP 180 raw umber I layered in the skin tones of the arm. The side of the pencil was used, with a light touch and a back and forth, as well a circular motion to build up color. I kept stepping back to look at the painting from a distance, assessing the general color and tone, then stepping back up and adding more color. In this way I slowly crept up on the color and tone so it appeared uniform.

CO 670 burnt sienna was used to get the warm, reddish color of the crease of the arm as it joins the shoulder. The darker shadows were accomplished with PP 187 burnt ochre and CO 610 raw umber.

I’ve included a lot more photos in this update to give you a better feel for the process.

IMG_2130 update 6     IMG_2131 update 6

IMG_2132 update 6     IMG_2133 update 6

IMG_2134 update 6     IMG_2136 update 6

IMG_2137 update 6     IMG_2138 update 6

IMG_2139 update 6     IMG_2140 update 6

IMG_2141 update 6     IMG_2142 update 6 detail

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 5

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 5

Over the past week I’ve continued to refine the facial features, building up color layers. I am not pushing very hard on the pastels. Very little pressure on the pencils. Laying in the color by very gently rubbing on the color, rather than rubbing in the color. This way I’m able to build up many, many layers. When I’m adding layers of color I hold the pencil at a very shallow angle. Actually rubbing on with the side of the point of the pencil. I use a mat knife to cut a very long point on the end of the pencil and keep it sharp with a single edge razor blade. I also work the pencil at steeper angles, also with a very sharp point, when I’m working details, but use the side of the pencil when blending larger areas where smoothness and gentle transition is necessary.

The colors I’m using for the face are PP light flesh, brown ochre, burnt ochre, cinnamon, burnt carmine, caput mortuum and raw umber. I’ve made some adjustments to the eyelids also. To knock down the brightness on the right cheek I used some brown ochre.

All along I’ve been looking at the face in isolation and wanted to get a feeling for the entire head, so I decided to place in the lights of the hair. At this point I’m not interested in detail, just block in the light masses. For this purpose I used CO 105 ivory and CO 692 golden ochre light.

IMG_2105 Update 5  Darks, middle tones and lights roughed in

IMG_2118 Update 5   Further refinement of the darks, middle tones and lights

IMG_2120 Update 5    Continued refinement of the facial features

IMG_2125 Update 5     Start of blocking in of lights in the hair

IMG_2129 Update 5







Light masses of the hair blocked in.

Work I Progress: Raine, Update 4

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 4

The next step in the process is the transfer to the final paper. Rather than blacken the back of the drawing I elected to blacken one side of a separate sheet of tracing paper and use it to do the transfer. There are instances where the line work on the front side is not clearly visible when the back is blackened, and since accuracy is necessary, I didn’t want to take a chance on being able to follow the line work, I used a separate sheet. I also didn’t want to go over existing line work just to make it darker. In case it became necessary to re-draw the head, I didn’t want to make unnecessary and possibly detrimental marks on a drawing. I might want to use it again in the future.

Once the sheet of tracing paper was blackened on one side with an HB pencil, I slipped it between the drawing and the Sennelier pastel paper. I then carefully went over the lines with a ball point pen. The pen had no ink in it, so no lines were made on the drawing.

The first step in the creation of this portrait was to produce a line drawing in pastel. I re-drew the lines carefully with a CO burnt sienna pastel pencil and added shading. At this stage the main shade masses are indicated generally and done lightly.


The next step is stating the darks, mid tones and lights, again in general terms. I made no attempt to fill in solidly, just lightly and generally again. This step is to just map out the tones. I kept the darks a little lighter than in the photo, and the mid tones and lights a little lighter. That would enable me to go darker on the darks and lighter on the mid tones and lights as I progressed. This gave me some leeway in both directions.

First, I placed in the lighter of the darks in the face (shadows of the eye sockets, right lower cheek and chin, inner part of the left cheek, and neck) with CO burnt sienna. Next, I used CO bister very lightly for the darks in the hair and, even more lightly, on the lower part of the right cheek, the right eye socket and on the lower neck, near the blouse.

To give some definition to the mouth, I used CO bister for the interior of the mouth.

IMG_2093 Raine Update 4


I will probably leave the remainder of the hair now until I get most or all of the face finished.

The mid tones begin at the edges of the shadows, separating the darks from the lights. I considered mid tones to be the forehead, outer part of the left cheek, upper right cheek near the nose, the nose and philtrum (area between the nose and upper lip), below the lower lip and down on to the chin, and the outer edge of the neck. For the base color of the mid tones I used FC light flesh.

The lights were done with FC ivory. Here I mapped out the far right side of Raine’s face and also the very edge of the neck just under the chin.


The lips were defined with FC medium flesh, FC dark red and FC ivory. The eyes were colored in with FC light ultramarine and FC chrome green opaque.

IMG_2099 Raine Update 4


Now, I’ll go back to the face, re-state the darks, mid tones and lights and continue to refine the features.

Ist Place Award, Nature 6 Competition, A Singular Creation Art Community

Many thanks and much appreciation to the judges of A Singular Art Community for voting Osprey: Lovers Key, Florida, Number 1 in their Competition “Nature 6”. Congratulations, also to the 1st Runner up Ryan OSullivan and Honorable mentions Sam Woodson, Lynne Wright, Vitalii, Boruch Lev, Alejandro del Valle, Fraser Mackay, Kelly Laura, Alyssa, Danielle Trudeau, and Jophel Botero Ybiosa.


Osprey Lovers Key Florida Art Walk

Work in Progress: Raine, Update 3

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 3


Using the guidelines as I developed them in the last Update, I was able to rough in the facial features. At first I didn’t try for detail, just to get in the general shapes within the guides that I drew in. I was careful, though, to stay within those guides.

Doing the eyes first allowed me to use the inside and outside corners as additional reference points to draw in the wings of the nose. The center of the brow ridge also can serve as a good reference point, along with the top of the head and the center of the chin. The eye corners can also be used to check the mouth corners against the chin and head top reference points.

As I refined the facial features I slowly lightened or erased the guidelines.

The final stage of this rough in involved outlining the shaded areas. The shade forms also define the features of the face and can be used to check the placement of the eyes, nose and mouth. I found that with each stage in the refinement process, I made further adjustments in shape and placement of the features. To help draw in the shade outlines, I converted the original photo to black and white and strengthened the contrasts to simplify the shadow forms.

After the rough in, I went to work on details by looking closely at the reference photo and drawing them in. The more accurate I am in the pencil drawing, the better start I will have on the color stage. It’s a time consuming process for me, making little adjustments here and there, checking measurements and angles as I go, making additional adjustments. With each little change the likeness improves.

IMG_2056 Raine Update 3


For me, and this particular portrait, the process of producing a pencil likeness was more difficult than others I have done. And I think the reason it was more difficult is that I’m not used to developing my pencil drawings on a vertical easel. I think I have a little less control of the pencil. I’m more used to working on an inclined drawing board, where I have more control and support. I had to redraw lines and check angles and distances more than I liked. Near the end of the refinement, I finally removed the drawing from the easel and finished it on my drawing board. Maybe with more practice I’ll get better at working vertically. I had no problems with the portrait of Peaches, and completed the whole portrait, from start to finish, on a vertical. Maybe I just wasn’t at my best this past week. Anyway, I had to work harder on Raine’s portrait.


Through continued checking of angles and distances I continued the adjustments and developed a good pencil likeness. The drawing is now ready for transfer to the final paper and I can begin the color stage.

IMG_2059 Raine Update 3

Work in Progress: Raine, Update 2

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 2

I’m a little late on this installment. Had a number of other responsibilities to take care of, and they took priority this past week. One of these responsibilities had to do with art, but from a construction point of view. I’m in the process of making changes to a sun room that will transform it into a studio. The room faces the back yard with a view to the gardens along the west side of the property. The view is enhanced by almost continuous windows along a semicircular west wall. I think it will eventually prove to be a great environment in which to do my painting.


Now, on to Update 2.

            The first step in this portrait is the size and placement of the head on the paper. Portraits are generally done life size or a bit smaller. I want the size of the portrait to be 16” high by 20” wide. Most of my portraits are a vertical format but the photo suggested a horizontal format and I’m intrigued by the idea. The wind is blowing the pony tails outward, making the shape of the head, including hair, more horizontal than vertical

I also don’t want to paint just the head. I want to include the neck and shoulder as well. I don’t want to give the impression of a free floating head in space, but rather the head is connected to a body, even though only a portion of the body is shown. Additionally, I don’t want the portrait to crowd the margins. I decided to leave two inches around all sides. That gave me 12 inches for the portrait and approximately 8 inches, or a bit less, for the head.

Using Photoshop Elements I determined the size photograph I would need so that the head on the photo would be one-half the final portrait size. That way, all measurements on the photo, doubled, would give me the final measurements for the portrait. Easy and convenient.


Steps to a likeness

I’m going to draw the portrait of Raine first on tracing paper. That way I can feel comfortable making the preliminary drawing with all it entails – making mistakes, adjusting, erasing and re-drawing lines (and starting over, if necessary) until I’m satisfied with the likeness. When I have a likeness, I can transfer it to the finish paper. No point in ruining a good sheet of pastel paper. I’ve broken down the portrait process into steps which work well for me and, if followed, can lead to a good likeness. The photos that accompany this discussion show the progression.


Step 1: Mark the location of the topmost point of the head and center of the chin.

I marked the topmost point of the head on the photo and marked the same point on the tracing paper. Next, knowing the length of the head I desired, I marked the level of the center of the chin on the tracing paper, and then marked the center point of the chin on the photo.

This next step is critical to the rest of the drawing. On the photo, I drew a line from the topmost point on the head to the center point of the chin. I then drew a line on the tracing paper at the same angle from the topmost point of the head to the line indicating the level of the chin. Where this line crossed the chin level line is the center point of the chin. It is important to get this angle correct because the placement of all points of the head are dependent on it.

IMG_2051 Raine Update 2

            Next, on the photo, I drew lines from the top of the head to the outside corners and inside corners of both eyes. On the drawing, I drew lines with the same angles, from the top point. To locate the position of the eyes, I measured, on the photo, the distance from the top reference point to the outside and inside corners of the eyes, then doubling this distance, located the position on the same lines on the drawing. I checked the angles and distances from the chin reference point to the corners of the eyes to make sure the eyes were located correctly. I also drew a line through the eyes on the photo and, noting the angle, duplicated it on the drawing. The angles and distances should match.

IMG_2052 Raine Update 2

I repeated the same process with the outside corners of the mouth and the wings of the nose.

IMG_2053 Raine Update 2

            To further check the accuracy of the layout, the angles and distances between all the points established (eyes, mouth, nose, chin and top of head) can be measured and adjustments made until they all match the photo.

IMG_2054 Raine Update 2

Step 2: Blocking in the head

After indicating the top of the head and the center of the chin, the location of the eyes , nose and mouth, the rest of the head can be roughly blocked in. Straight lines are used at first because they are easiest to draw with accuracy. One by one, I pick major points around the head and determine the angles and distances to them from the topmost point of the head. Using the center point of the chin, I repeat the same procedure and, by triangulation, the intersection of the angles from the two reference points (top of head and center of chin) indicate the location of the major points around the head. By sketching in lines connecting these points, I now have a rough (but fairly accurate) outline of the head.

IMG_2055 Raine Update 2


I’ll stop at this point and in the next Update I’ll go on with refining this rough drawing to come up with a likeness.

Work In Progress: Raine, Update 1

Work in Progress: Raine, Update 1

            As I mentioned at the end of the last Update, I’m inclined to do another portrait. I bought a few varieties of pastel paper over the past few months, with the intent to see how I like them for pastel portrait work. The brands I purchased were Canson mi tientes pastel paper in a few different colors, U-Art 500 sanded pastel paper and Sennelier La Carte Pastel paper. I used the Canson to do the portrait of Peaches. This time I’m going to use the Sennelier pastel paper. Being a sanded paper, it is much rougher in texture, so I’m real interested in how different the experience will be. The paper I chose was sand color.

The portrait I’ll be working on is one of my granddaughter, Raine. I took the photo some years ago but the expression and pose, I think, are very natural, and wonderful for a portrait. I was drawn also to the way the wind had played with her hair. Although the face is in light shade, there is plenty of light to define her features, and I like the sharp contrast in light and shade as the sunlight catches her hair. I think the lights of her hair will look good against the darker color of the sanded pastel paper. I have a number of other photos to help with the details.


012 Raine 2010a Update 1


The size of the portrait will be 16” by 20” but I haven’t decided on horizontal or vertical format. I’m leaning toward horizontal.

The first step will be to place the figure on the paper, fix the topmost and bottommost points of the head and determine the angle between them. From there I’ll work out all the rest of the features. I’ll discuss the first steps next Update.

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 12

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 12

I think this painting is completed. Added the reflection at the bottom. All the same pastel colors used for the other area of the floor were used here except for the addition of CO 105. I purposely left the background area with less detail than the subject because it supports the main subject. The background adds realism and places Peaches in a specific place she is associated with. I wanted that association to ground her to her home, where she spent her life. That was an important consideration from the beginning. She was not just Peaches but Peaches in her home.


Finishing this painting also leaves me a bit sad. It means one more association slips further into the past. Doing this painting also kept me close to her for the past 3 months. In some ways I will miss that. But, we’ll always have this painting of her nearby and can look at it – and remember her – as often as we want. Heidi is growing by leaps and bounds and is becoming more and more a companion. She is wonderful to have around and her youth and affection is much needed, desired and appreciated.

IMG_2002a Peaches Update 12


I have in mind another portrait for my next painting. I’ll discuss that next week.

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 11

Work in Progress: Peaches, Update 11

            In this Update I’ve done more work on the entertainment center, the French doors in the background and the couch, bringing closer to completion.

At the end of the last update I mentioned that the background colors are predominantly browns and how that allowed for the lighter colors of Peaches to stand out. In fact, the whole composition is done using harmonious color. I didn’t especially plan it that way but, early on, I did notice that the all the objects in the photo showed predominantly browns and ochres. I liked the combination and felt it gave a warm, quiet and comforting feeling to the painting.

In her book “Painting Children’s Portraits in Pastel”, Wendy Caporale speaks of using harmonious color to “bring out the gentle warmth” of the subject. This is especially true when the colors are warm in temperature – the reds, yellows and oranges. All the browns and ochres used in this painting are warm in temperature, leading to a feeling of calm. If care is not taken, the painting can become boring if there is not enough variety in tone. I’ve tried in this painting to establish variety in tone, and feel I’ve accomplished that. The values range from nearly black in the darks of the entertainment center and couch, and the shadows associate with them, to the very lightest of values in Peaches. The contrast in the tones used in Peaches and those of her surroundings also focuses attention on her.

IMG_1977a Peaches Update 11

The colors used for the surroundings were all the same. Only the proportions were changed. For the couch I used CO 175, 670, 165 and 692, PP 175, 187, 280 and 169. I used some darker soft pastel colors in the entertainment center to further bring out the subject – Peaches. Those colors were Sennelier black brown 02 and lamp black 526.

I will continue to refine the entertainment center, curtains and french doors and the reflection on the floor. I’m getting closer to completing this portrait. Another week or so.

ArtWalk in Ocala tonight!

There is an ArtWalk in Ocala tonight. You may already know that there is one the first friday of the month. Spending the day getting everything ready for the show.

I also just finished up an Introductory Colored Pencil class for Master the Possibilities at On Top of the World Communities yesterday. Had two classes this week. I was quite impressed by the students taking the class. They had little previous experience with colored pencil painting but seemed to get the hang of it quite well after the two sessions. I hope they will continue to work at it, for it was evident they had a feel for it.

I’ll try to post my next update this weekend.

Florida Champion Live Oak